Posts Tagged With: Biloxi

Shrimp And Grits

American Entree

SHRIMP AND GRITS

INGREDIENTSshrimpandgrits

1 cup chicken broth
¾ cup milk
2½ cups water
1 cup grits
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1¾ cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove
4 stalks green onions
5 bacon strips
1½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken broth, milk, and water to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir frequently. Add grits gradually, stirring with whisk until no lumps exist. Add pepper and salt. Reduce heat to warm. Simmer to 10-to-20 minutes or until grits become tender and all the water has been absorbed. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add butter and Cheddar cheese. Blend in cheese and butter with fork. Cover.

While liquid boils and grits become tender, mince garlic and dice green onions. Chop bacon into ½” squares. Add bacon squares to pan. Cook at medium-high heat for 3-to-5 minutes or until bacon becomes crispy, turning them over at least 1 time. Remove bacon and place on paper towel. Keep bacon grease in pan.

Add shrimp to pan. Sauté shrimp for 3 minutes at medium heat or until they start to turn pink or orange. (Don’t overcook shrimp. It will get mushy.) Add lemon juice. garlic, and green onion. Stir quickly until shrimp is well coated with garlic and green onion. Remove from heat.

Ladle grits into bowls. Top with shrimp and garlic/green onion/lemon juice. Sprinkle with bacon squares.

TIDBITS

1) It seems hard to believe now, but shrimp portraits were once quite popular in America during the late nineteenth century.

2) Darned difficult. I mean, why?

3) Okay, to understand phenomenon, one simply must read, Dr. Amos Keeto’s enthralling work, “Amazing Fads of the Gilded Age,” Garlic Press, Paducah, Kentucky, 1933.

4) According to Dr. Keeto, horse racing was incredibly popular in the 1890s. People with too much money, having bought up anything of any value in America, turned to gambling. They wouldn’t bet on baseball. Ordinary folk did that.

5) So the filthy rich, so called because oil from their wells constantly spurted onto their clothes, would clean up and go the race tracks to wager on horses, the sport of kings.

6) Everything went well. The had fun playing the horses. They lost vast sums, of course, but they had vast sum to lose. The race course owners became quite wealthy as well. They purchased gigantic mansions and went on railroad buying sprees. The Race Track magnate, Silas Brunswick, even bought BrusselsSproutsTM for $250,000 after it came out with the BS PadTM.

7) The BS Pad, a precursor to iPhonesTM, tablets, and the such, consisted of two tin cans tied together with a string, an abacus, and a sketch pad. Improvements have been made since then. Nevertheless, it was all new back then and the sexy BS was all the rage

8) But the craze stopped a scant year later when all of a sudden shouting became socially acceptable once more.

9) Then horse racing died out. On May 5, 1897, the swiftest horses gathered for the prestigious Mississippi Derby in Biloxi. Society’s elite bet over a million on the horses. The favorites were Southern Boil and Sandstorm.

10) People still debate what happened. As the horses turned the corner to enter the final stretch, an enormous fog rolled into. When the fog had lifted, all of the horses were gone. Everyone.

11) Where had they gone? Some speculated that the horses had gone to the same parallel universe that orphan socks go to when placed in a dryer. Some folks dispute this, noting electric dryers weren’t invented back then. The proponents counter, “Where you there, na, na, na, na, poo, poo?”

12) Some folks say that a mare in heat passed by the track and that time and the stallions merely left the race to chase after her. Still others maintain mass spontaneous combustion claimed all the horses, ignoring the fact that no explosions were ever heard. I mean, really.

13) We’ll never know what happened to the race horses. The race-track owner claiming that since no horse crossed the finished line, paid off none of the bets. This defiant act angered the wealthy bettors. Horse racing rapidly fell out of favor.

14) Fortunately, the crowd spied a cocktail of shrimp–you know, like a pod of whales–swimming off shore, and fast! An energetic entrepreneur, his name is lost to history, improvised a shrimp race course. By heavens, the event was fun. Shrimp racing became the most popular social event of the 1890s.

15) Breeding shrimp for speed became a lucrative business. Wealthy owners hired artists to paint their prize shrimps. These artists loved to eat grits. Hence, shrimp and grits. There you go.

cookbookhunksChef Paul

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World,  with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Noodles With Poppy Seeds

Polish Dessert

NOODLES WITH POPPY SEEDS

INGREDIENTSPoppyPasta-

8-ounce bag egg noodles
¼ cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey

Takes 15 minutes. Makes 4 bowls.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

PREPARATION

Cook egg noodles according to instructions on bag. While noodles cook, melt butter. Grind poppy seeds thoroughly with spice grinder. Drain noodles. Add ground poppy seeds, melted butter, and honey to noodles. Mix ingredients with fork until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) I was tempted to write, “Toss ingredients,” but I recently saw a football movie and I kept picturing someone tossing the poppy pasta down the length on the kitchen.

2) Pasta football almost caught on during World War II. Real football production had ceased in 1942 due to wartime restrictions. Real footballs became harder and harder to find.

3) Professional football merged to conserve the nation’s dwindling supply of real footballs.

4) But the fans in the cities that lost their teams still wanted to see professional football. Patriotic Polish-American chefs came up with the poppy pasta football. It was enough for the football starved fans. In 1944, the PPPFL, Polish Poppy Pasta Football League was formed.

5) The league was comprised of franchises from: St. Louis, Poway, California, Keokuk, Illinois, Madison, Wisconsin, Taos, New Mexico, and Biloxi, Mississippi. The league did not thrive. The poppy pasta football kept disintegrating in the rain.

6) Then on November 17, 1944 with Keokuk losing to Poway 44 to 13 and three minutes left, Keokuk quarterback, Chris Gashud ate the last football. No football, no more playing. There were no rules to cover this. The game was considered to be the same as a rainout. Losing teams took their cue from this incidents and ate the pasta ball in the final minutes of game after game. The league folded in late December.

7) Isn’t Gashud Swedish for “gooseflesh?” Yes, it is.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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The Elephants’ Graveyard – Part 1

“The Elephants’ Graveyard is right there in Biloxi.”

The cabby’s assertion startled me.

“Biloxi, Mississippi? Are you sure about that? It seems hard to believe.”

“It’s true all right. You have my word as a cabby.”

“Come now, I don’t see any elephants here.”

“We’re not in Biloxi, friend. We haven’t left the Airport. We gotta go east to Biloxi to see any elephants. The FAA don’t let no elephants into Gulfport. Dangerous to landing planes, you know.”

The meter ran as he talked and I was anxious to make my meeting, but I couldn’t resist saying,

“But the government is shut down again. Who will keep the elephants out of Gulfport now?”

“Damn!” The cabby slammed on the brakes to stop the cab, which wasn’t hard to do as we weren’t moving. He jumped out of the car. “Ow!” Chastened and little more cautious he opened the door and then got out. He retrieved a massive weapon out of the trunk and made his way back to the cab.

“Here, take this,” he growled as he hurled the gun at me. Minutes later when the ringing in my ears subsided I replied,

“How is it that I never read about it, anywhere?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I guess the local reporters just got used to ’em, and just never wrote ’em up.”

“But surely, the migration of elephants to Mississippi would have made front-page news?”

“You’re wrong, friend. The elephants came here in 1862, right in the middle of the war. Folks round were just too preoccupied with the fighting to notice them right off. But soon enough, General Lee enrolled them into his army. The ‘phants, as some call them, were in Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. We would have won the battle, but them Yankees let loose thousands of mice. Those mice scared the ‘phants, who turned around and stampeded the Rebel men. That’s how we lost the war.”

“Fascinating, but why did they choose here of all places?”

“For the peanuts.”

“But they don’t grow peanuts in Mississippi, they grow peanuts in Georgia as you well know.”

“Well, those ‘phants didn’t know nothing about that, did they? You’re not as smart as you looked, Mister. I’m fixing to take you there, right now.”

“But, I simply must be at a meeting in Long Beach, to the West!”

He ignored my feeble protests, gunned the engine, and soon we hurtled eastward at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. Soon the fair gulf regaled us with its shimmering beauty.

“Thalassa! Thalassa!”, I shouted to the cabby, “That’s Greek for the ‘The Sea.’ The Sea.”

“Yea, whatever. Look, there’s Peanuts Pavilion. Right next to that is the Planter’s dock and peanut refinery.”

“Ooh, that looks quite interesting. May we stop and investigate?”

“No.” He stomped on the gas pedal as way of protest and soon we were pushing the edge of the envelope at 25. “We’re looking for ‘phants. You gotta problem with that?”

“No,” I meekly replied. Since I was at the cabby’s mercy, I resolved to endure the best I could and would resolutely scan the horizon for the noble beasts whenever I wasn’t following the soaring meter.

Soon we crossed the border into Biloxi and immediately the clouds parted to reveal glorious, golden shafts of sunlight. I could almost swear I could hear angels singing melodious hymns of joy. The cabby belched.

Soon, the traffic in our lane slowed and eventually stopped at Eisenhower Drive, while in the lane to the bookstore, traffic ground to a halt. All the while, the meter merrily climbed. We noticed state troopers inspecting the cars, talking to all, waving some on, and pulling over others. Soon, one made his way to the cabby’s Honda Accord.

“Transporting any illegal elephants with you?”

“No,” the cabby explained at length as he handed over his license.

The trooper examined the license and then carefully pointed his flashlight inside the cab. Eventually, he seemed satisfied by our serene demeanor and waved us on. Whoosh, aided by a tail wind, we again darted eastward, leaving even the most vigorous pedestrians far behind. I turned to watch the Miss-Elephant-Rider-of-the-Mississippi-Gulf-Coast contest taking place on the beach; so did the cabby.

Crash! After shaking off the shattered glass, I looked up to behold a most angry pachyderm. Instinctively, I knew the elephant’s name to be Felix.

“What ho, Felix! How’s it hanging?” I bantered cheerfully to the gray skinned beast breathing in my face. Evidently, this was not proper elephantine etiquette as Felix trumpeted loudly as he crushed the front of the cab with one mighty stamp.

“Damn,” gushed the rattled cabby and then moments later, “I’m ruined.”

“My goodness, it’s not as bad as all that,” I opined. “Aren’t you covered by AAA insurance? I have it and it explicitly states that they will replace any one car crushed by a rampaging elephant.”

“Yep, but that won’t do me no good. That ‘phant will just hunt me down and crush every car I drive.”

“Surely, you are blowing a little tiff by that elephant all out of proportion.”

“No, I’m not. An elephant never forgets.”

The cabby remained inconsolable, and so, I waited quietly for AAA to bring the new cab. I then spied the smashed meter, and so, waited contentedly for the new car.

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